Since this is the last full week remaining in the summer transfer window, we can probably expect a flurry of new stories, rumors, retractions of those rumors, newer stories refuting the earlier stories, and, who knows, maybe even an actual deal to be completed. Point being, the incessant rumor cycle we've discussed all summer long now takes on an added sense of urgency with Roma's season opener looming large on the horizon. It is in that light that we must discuss Roma's reported signing of Lille defender Marko Basa.
While some outlets report that Roma and Lille have agreed to transfer terms for the 31-year-old defender--€4m upfront with an additional €3m in incentives, with Basa signing a two-year deal worth €1.5m per year--others indicate that Lille hasn't yet given this their seal of approval.
We discussed Basa earlier this summer as a potential reinforcement for Roma's back line, and even though Benatia's Roma future remains in the balance, that is precisely what he would remain; nothing more than a reinforcement, albeit a substantial upgrade to Roma's current fourth center back, Alessio Romagnoli. Basa was arguably Lille's best defender last season, completing 91% of his passes while also leading the club in clearances and tackles last season, so he would certainly be a welcome addition to the fold in any capacity.
Further hedging their bets against a Benatia sale, word has also broken that Roma may have already reached a deal for young Olympiakos defender Kostas Manolas, with some Greek sources claiming the fee could rise as high as €15m, a record for any Greek player. Manolas, reportedly a specific object of Rudi Garcia's desire, will sign a five year deal with Roma...allegedly.
So, while the negotiations between Roma and Bayern Munich over the Benatia sale drag on, it appears Walter Sabatini is taking a two-for-one approach, replacing the Moroccan's services with two players. Yes, we just said Basa remains merely a reinforcement, which is true, but at only 23-years-old, Manolas isn't blessed with experience, particularly not in a larger European league, so Basa's veteran presence should help ease the transition for Roma's defense.
We'll keep abreast of these developments, but suffice it to say, nothing becomes official until the Mehdi Benatia mess is settled.